After a coupon campaign has been developed, you have to turn your attention towards distribution and marketing. How can you effectively distribute enough coupons to ensure your campaign is effective? Well, thanks to a variety of different online and offline channels, you have some flexibility.
First off, it’s important to understand the difference between a coupon and a sale. An inaccurate understanding of these two distinct sales strategies will damage your ability to properly and effectively distribute coupons.
• Coupons: A coupon is a physical slip of paper or online code that a customer can redeem for a predetermined discount on a select product or service. While the same may not be true of online or virtual coupons, print coupons are limited to a certain number. There’s a level of scarcity to them.
• Sales: A sale, on the other hand, is available to anyone and everyone who visits your store or website. They don’t have to present any coupon or code. Rather, they automatically get the discount at checkout (regardless of whether or not they know the sale exists).
All things equal, coupons are considered ideal. They allow you to sell products to some people at full price, while discounting those same products for more price-sensitive customers.
This leads us to the practice of coupon advertising. Businesses strategically advertise and distribute coupons in order to accomplish one or more of the following four goals:
• Encourage existing customers to increase their transaction size.
• Acquire new customers by offering competitive prices.
• Get customers to front-load their purchases.
• Instill loyalty among existing customers.
Keeping this in mind, you can formulate very specific and precise distribution plans that allow you to maximize the efficacy of the coupons you print, share, or circulate.
Let’s start with traditional print coupons. Here’s a sampling of some of the most common and effective techniques for getting coupons into the hands of your customers:
For decades, sending coupons through the mail has been one of the most popular distribution methods for small and large businesses alike. This direct-delivery option allows you to target specific households and ensures coupons end up in customers’ hands. Really, you have a handful of options when it comes to mailing coupons.
• Postcards. If you have a mailing list of existing customers, postcards are good because they’re “in-your-face.” The recipient doesn’t have to open an envelope or do anything more than flip the card over and read the offer.
• Weekly classifieds. Another option is to send out a weekly classified with lots of different coupons, deals, and content. This is a little more time-intensive and costly, but is a method that many local supermarkets use when simultaneously offering lots of coupons.
• Coupon mailers. Finally, the third option is using coupon mailers. This is a good method for businesses that don’t necessarily have a lot of addresses on hand. By leveraging a third-party’s resources, you can still reach local households.
As you can see, there’s some flexibility with sending coupons through the mail. However, it should be noted that this is also one of the more expensive tactics for distributing physical coupons. When you’re talking about hundreds or thousands of mailings, postage costs add up pretty quickly. Keep this in mind and be sure to calculate for this added cost.
Traditionally, big companies have opted for highly sought after space in popular magazines and local newspapers. This is still an option, but may not always be the best for coupons. Print ad space is arguably better for marketing campaigns, brand building, and driving awareness for individual sales.
Finally, printing in-store advertisements and distributing coupons as customers walk in is an option. Since you already have the customer in the store, this is a great way to upsell and increase their transaction size. The downside is that you won’t earn any new customers with this technique. You’re only reaching existing customers. That’s something to think about.
With the rise of ecommerce, we would be remiss not to mention methods for online distribution of coupons. Though, it should be mentioned that things are a little hazier online. Codes can be shared in virtually any space, so you have to prepare for the possibility of an extreme influx of orders. With that being said, here are some commonly used distribution tactics:
If you want to reach the masses, social media is an ideal channel for distributing online coupon codes. All it takes is a few shares in the right newsfeeds and your coupon can be presented to thousands, or even millions of potential customers. The key is to leverage your followers. Give them an incentive to share the coupons with their followers. This creates a snowball effect.
Does your blog attract a lot of traffic? Are you afraid of over-sharing your coupon on social media? A more conservative and targeted approach involves featuring coupons on your blog. While these codes can still be shared or accessed by anyone, it’s much easier to control them when they’re posted on your website.
If you have the budget for it, pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements are a good way to share your coupons with a specific segment of consumers. Depending on what PPC platform you use (Google AdWords, Facebook, etc.), you’re able to control who the ad is delivered to. For example, Facebook allows you to target females, 18-24, who are single and live in California. By narrowing your focus, you can ensure you aren’t paying for irrelevant clicks.
At Mandlik & Rhodes, we’ve helped manufacturers and retailers increase profitability and drive brand awareness through strategic coupon processing solutions for over 20 years. If you want to find out more about how we operate and what sets us apart from the competition, feel free to browse our website or contact us today!